I’ve found that yelling at my kids rarely achieves its purpose, and leaves my kids miserable and me with a big fat ball of guilt in my stomach. Sometimes, my husband gets the brunt of it, when he comes home from work and the first (and only) thing I can think of to say is a sobbing “I yelled at the boys so much today!”
Sound familiar to you? Want to stop yelling at your kids? I’m not saying I’ve got this not-yelling-thing down pat, but I’m making progress. Here are five reasons to give you the motivation you need to keep your cool.
#1 Remember your kids are human
Just like us adults, children have good days and bad days. Some days they are sweet and obedient, pick up their toys, and finish their food; other days they are grouchy, defiant and difficult. As parents, remember that your child is a little human being, just that they don’t have the social skills and experience we have to manage and process their emotions. Some of them don’t even have the vocabulary yet to express what they’re struggling with. Having realistic expectations of your toddler or young child can help you hold back your outburst.
#2 Yelling begets yelling
It’s also helpful to remember that your kids are modeling their behavior from you. Every reaction you have to their behavior is noted and processed in those little minds, and you certainly don’t want to give them the impression that yelling is the best or only way to get your message across!
#3 Yelling simply doesn’t work
It simply doesn’t. Yelling may achieve your short term goals (“Pick up your toys”) but does nothing for creating long term success or inspiring self-motivation (“I need to pick up my toys before bed so that no one trips on them in the dark”). Conversely, shouting can escalate the situation, causing even a simple matter to spiral out of control. And when everyone’s in an agitated emotional state, it’s really hard for both sides to hear the other party and be open to change.
#4 You might miss out on something special
One night, my son was tossing about on the bed and chattering away to himself, even though I had told him repeated times to stop talking and lie still. I was fighting to keep my temper in check. Finally, I decided to try something out-of-the-ordinary. I turned him towards me and asked him “Sweetie, do you want to talk to mummy about something?” His little hand reached for mine, he looked me in the eye, and he said “I love the car… and the Mummy… and the Daddy… and didi… and God.” (There were more things in his list, but this is what I remember.)
I was so moved, I almost cried there. I am so thankful I decided not to yell at him to “STOP PLAYING AND SLEEP NOW!” then, so that I could hear these precious words from him.
#5 It’s often about me – the parent
Oftentimes, we yell not because our children did something that infuriating, but because we have been building up the tension within us, and we’ve reached our breaking point. It could be work stress, conflict with your spouse or a best friend, the uncertainty of tomorrow’s schedule – but whatever it is, our child’s act is the clincher and unravels us.
Self-care is of vital importance for us as parents. Know your personal stressors and triggers, make some new priorities, and you might find yourself yelling a lot less, and feeling healthier and happier!
By Dorothea Chow